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    Tasting: Wine
    PN VZ 15

    How Bollinger’s new PN VZ 15 is a glorious deep-dive into terroir

    The new Bollinger PN VZ 15 was born from a challenge to his fellow three winemakers, when chef de cave Gilles Descôtes asked them to make a Blanc de Noirs across vintages and villages. The wine had to have affordability and as much volume as Grande Année so that keen consumers can actually get some. The result is “exquisitely beautiful” writes Anne Krebiehl MW, a real deep-dive into Champagne’s terroirs with Pinot Noir coming (interestingly) from Verzanay rather than Aÿ and 20% of the reserve wines coming from Bollinger’s réserves de magnum from 2009 and 2010.

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    Opinion
    Gerard Basset taught himself to have more confidence and authority in his presentation style during major competitions 

    Anne Burchett on ‘remarkable’ Gerard Basset & his ‘remarkable’ memoir

    Anne Burchett did not know Gerard Basset OBE MW MS very well, but as a fellow French citizen who had chosen not just to live in the UK, but the wine trade as a career, she certainly felt an attachment through their shared experiences of being on this side of the Channel. Which is why she was so keen to read his life story that he was able to capture in his book, Tasting Victory, that has been published a few months after his death last year.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Dom Pérignon 2010

    How did Dom Pérignon make a vintage in 2010 when many didn’t?

    In France 2010 is a vintage that produced so many sensational wines – Bordeaux, Burgundy, even North and South Rhône were on the same page, but in Champagne very few houses declared a vintage. The reason was that on August 15 and 16 the region had the equivalent of two months of rain. In a fascinating masterclass to mark the launch of Dom Pérignon 2010 chef de cave Vincent Chaperon explains how they took a massive gamble with the Pinot Noir – leaving 20% of their plots to ripen knowing they would lose most of it to botrytis.

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    People People: Producer
    Shah 5

    Michèle Shah: So what does the ‘new normal’ look like in Italy, 7 weeks on?

    The UK regained some of its independence on Saturday, July 4, as bars and restaurants re-opened but how is it going in Italy? Italy eased out of Lockdown seven weeks ago and is now slowly counting the cost of the pandemic. The drop in restaurant turnover this year is €34 billion, and Italy’s wine tourism business worth €2.4 billion has been severely hit. Just as tourists start returning and many businesses put a brave face on proceedings, Italian food and wine expert Michèle Shah talks to producers in Lombardy, Tuscany, Sardinia, Veneto and Sicily to find out what the ‘new normal’ means to them.

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    Insight
    july 4 simpsons

    Covid-19 Hub July: How the UK on-trade is re-opening

    As we all start to take serious steps of coming out of lockdown, The Buyer has switched its Covid-19 Hub updates service to a new weekly format to help the trade keep up to date with the very latest activity, trends and insights across the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors as momentum builds towards opening up more areas of business we will look to share more knowledge and tools to help you do that. This is Part Seven of The Buyer’s Covid-19 blog kicking off all the activity in what is going to be a vital month for the UK drinks and hospitality sectors.

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    People People: On-Trade
    gaucho front

    Adventurous wine list key to Gaucho’s re-opening plans

    The 4th July has taken on a new meaning in 2020. The on-trade and the vast supply chain that supports it have spent the past few weeks all gearing up for how they can re-open their doors to a new ‘normal’ of eating and drinking out. The hit during Covid-19 has been sudden and upsetting. Sadly, for some, it has been devastating and they won’t be able to join the rest of the trade in even trying to re-open. But for those who are bouncing back, what measures and protocols are being put in place to ensure they are on the right side of the ever changing government guidelines. Here Harry Crowther talks to Martin Williams, chief executive of Rare Restaurants (Gaucho and M Restaurants) to find out what he and his team have been up to behind the scenes during lockdown, and Andrew Maidment, the man who is heading up the exciting changes that have taken place to Gaucho’s new-look wine list, which were very much at the heart of its pre-lockdown re-launch and will be key to how it returns from July 4.

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    People People: Producer
    ben riccardi good

    Osmote’s Ben Riccardi on making cutting edge wines in New York

    Ben Riccardi was born and raised in the Finger Lakes, the heartland of winemaking in New York State. Whilst he is quickly making his own name for himself in the state as a cutting edge winemaker, producing low intervention, terroir-driven wines, it’s his experiences travelling the world in working with prestigious winemakers in France (Domaine Blancardy), New Zealand (Craggy Range and Muddy Water) and Sonoma County (Williams-Selyem) that has helped shape the winemaker he has now become.

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    People: Producer
    Tim Ford

    Domaine Gayda’s Tim Ford on surviving this ‘forgotten year’

    Running a business through Lockdown is hard enough in the UK but how does it work if you are an Englishman running a large wine business in France? Tim Ford, managing director of Languedoc estate Domaine Gayda explains how he has handled télétravail (working from home) and Chômage Partiel (furlough), keeping his export markets open and working on the new harvest. And also how impressive and fast the help has been from the French government.

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    Insight
    uk and eu trading

    UK wine industry faces ‘disaster’ over Brexit trading rules

    The UK wine industry is in danger of sleep walking into what could be a “disaster” if it does not come together now to shout, lobby and force the government to rip up the current trading practices it is set to introduce when the UK leaves the EU at the end of the year. That was the stark – if not frightening – message from a joint webinar this week held by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association and Liv-ex, the global marketplace for wine. Richard Siddle assesses why the introduction of a series of complex and hugely expensive new ways of trading with the EU could result in a massive loss in business, and some sectors – noticeably fine wine – drying up completely due to the red tape and costs involved.

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    Opinion
    tap expert panel

    Janet Harrison’s ‘A Team’ of wine talent for offering trade advice

    When Janet Harrison launched the People’s Choice Wine Awards in 2017 she promised to bring fresh thinking to what was already a cluttered wine awards sector. By getting everyday actual wine drinkers involved in deciding which wines ended up with a medal it has lived up to its billing. Now she wants to do extend the collaborative approach of the awards to the trade with her new TAP – Trade Advisory Panel – initiative that has brought together a wide range of professional talent from all sectors of the industry who are willing to share their expertise by helping others bring new projects to life. Here’s how it is going to work.

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    Opinion
    virtual press trip Long Read

    Jess Lamb: Why virtual press trip may be the future of wine travel

    One learning from lockdown could be that we think twice about ‘disposable’ international travel when Zoom or a webinar could suffice. But will this extend to visiting a wine region? Jess Lamb was a passenger on the first virtual press trip to the Lebanon and says that, despite being an advocate of physical press trips, her experience led her to think that in many cases this could work well as a substitute, especially with the reduced costs, time, travel commitments and carbon emissions.

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    Opinion
    Most major companies will have a Diveristy  - like this picture taken from Amazon's

    How wine needs ‘multi strand’ action to tackle racial diversity

    “This change has to come from the top. You can’t just talk the talk, you also have to walk the walk. If you keep doing the same things, hiring the same people, using the same methodology, you will continue to get the same outcomes.” Hard but fair words from Kirsten MacLeod who examines the issue of racial diversity and inclusion in the wine industry and says it has a very long way to go and many lessons to learn, and actions to take.

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    People: Producer
    Sogevinus Long Read

    What Boavista acquisition says about Sogevinus strategy

    The news today that Sogevinus has acquired historic estate Quinta da Boavista from Lima Smith further strengthens its position on still Duoro wines and exports. The wine group has long had a strategic focus on still wines – arguing for Portuguese wine producers to market with an united front and around a single grape – and the Boavista deal follows a long line of interesting acquisitions and product launches. Justin Keay spoke to Sogevinus CEO Sergio Marly Cominal and the rest of the team about what the plans are post-Covid.

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    People People: Supplier
    me and troy

    Troy Christensen: digital has to be part of Enotria&Coe’s future

    It’s been fascinating to see how over the last couple of months how different business leaders across the drinks and hospitality sectors have responded to the Covid-19 crisis that has hit them all both as individuals and heads of the companies they manage. Troy Christensen, chief executive of Enotria&Coe, brought a fresh perspective to the situation when The Buyer interviewed him earlier this month. On the one hand he faced up to the nightmare scenario that has meant 90% of its usual revenues have been put in the deep freeze, due to the on-trade being closed, in typically bullish manner. But he also demonstrated how, as a company and as a sector, the drinks distribution network can recover, by how quickly it has turned its focus to growing the digital side of its business, through its own retail arm, Great Western Wines, and by linking up with the vast number of B2B turned B2C platforms that have emerged over the last three months.

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    Tasting: Wine
    Cramele Recas Long Read

    Why the wines of Romania’s Cramele Recas work so well

    You might not know at the time that you are drinking a wine from Romania’s Cramele Recas, but chances are that at some time or other you will be. The country’s largest winery is responsible for many of the UK’s best-selling wines with a unique and effective consumer-centric approach – they make wine with the right quality level, attention to detail and price then ensure it reaches its target market with packaging that is bespoke for every on and off trade customer. Peter Dean travelled to Romania to see the set-up first hand, and also picks some standout wines and how they work with a range of dishes.

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    Opinion People People: Producer
    Wollfer Roman Roth in cellar

    Roman Roth & the quality wines at New York’s Wölffer Estate

    The combination of strong winds coming in off the ocean, with quality soils helps the Wölffer Estate Vineyard produce its signature, balanced, elegant, and age-worthy wines – with a particular focus on making premium rosés. As we continue our series profiling leading New York State wineries we talk to Roman Roth, winemaker at the estate, about being able to make food-friendly, accessible wines that also have the ability to age and improve with time.

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    People People: Supplier
    family watching tv

    Quintessential’s Neil Anderson: responding to consumer trends

    There are not many people in the drinks industry who are at their happiest when they have their head down drilling through the latest Kantar or Nielsen consumer trends research. But Neil Anderson is very much one of them. Yes, he loves his wines, spirits and beers and all the stories behind them, but it’s what makes consumers tick that really gets Anderson excited and passionate about his role as retailer brands marketing director at Quintessential Brands.

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    Tasting: Wine
    post-Covid

    Peter Dean: How was the UK’s 1st post-Covid real life wine tasting?

    While the global wine industry agonizes about how to conduct safe wine tasting, a small car park in the London Borough of Fulham gave us all a glimpse into how the ‘new normal’ might work. Wine tasting, whether that be generic or by importer portfolio, is the lifeblood of the industry, of course, and Peter Dean went along to the event to see how public relations company R&R Teamwork had tackled the UK’s first post-Covid real life wine tasting. It’s one small step for wine…

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    Insight
    jason atherton looking away

    Flint’s on-trade debate: Jason Atherton & top restaurateurs

    The fact bars and restaurants now know they can re-open at one metre (plus) social distancing rules in a week or so is a massive relief to all involved in the premium on-trade. But it is only one part of an increasingly complex set of factors that will determine which outlets and operators can return and when they can re-open. That was very much the conclusion of a wide ranging debate held online by Flint Wines recently with leading restaurateurs, including Jason Atherton, and top Master Sommeliers on how they see the premium on-trade re-opening.

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    Insight
    david babich screenshot

    Covid-Hub June: David Babich on NZ lockdown & not travelling

    As we all start to take serious steps of coming out of lockdown, The Buyer has switched its Covid-19 Hub updates service to a new weekly format to help the trade keep up to date with the very latest activity, trends and insights across the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors as momentum builds towards opening up more areas of business we will look to share more knowledge and tools to help you do that. This is Part Six of The Buyer’s Covid-19 blog for the week June 21 to June 28.

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